history · museum studies · people · society · travel

“Madam are you from Japan?”

“Madam are you from Japan?”

For a moment I thought he was kidding me, but unfortunately he wasn’t!

Just because I had stepped out of the airport with a friend from Manipur and distinct features, I was perceived to be Japanese by the auto-rickshaw driver in Delhi. I am not from Japan, my ancestors are not from Japan, and I do not have the physique or features that  people use as a lame excuse for nurturing  a simplistic perception of anyone from the North Eastern States of India, with least awareness of the plurality of people . I look Punjabi and even am Punjabi, this was the most incredulous comment ever, and I am still overwhelmed by the sheer ignorance that persists!

I told him I am not, that my friend though from Manipur, lives in Delhi and asked him to drop me in a residential area of Delhi, indicating that I have been to Delhi before and am not the tourist he assumes I am. But this guy was truly persistent. He tried to take me via longer route, he told me how Delhi is a great place, and then to exasperate me further, he actually pointed at India Gate and told me how it is a must watch tourist destination.

When we reached towards my destination and I guided him on the turns, he assumed it is thanks to my mobile phone and maps, and finally before leaving told me how he came this far just because I could have been cheated by other driver folks in the city.

I think somewhere the gentleman mentioned gave me the beginning of an answer to a  question another had asked around 6 months ago, “Why do we need museums?”

Buddy, you need museum to go to the anthropological section and begin to understand that the North Eastern States of India are not Japan, to start being aware, to nurture empathy, not ignorance.

love · narratives · people · personal narratives · Uncategorized

A letter unsent to a friend: A letter to no one

Dear …………

Hope this letter finds you well. I thought of writing to you because I like to write and I like the thought that you , with that calm on your face, would be reading it. That the depth in those eyes would scan across the length of it, and probably lead to a knowing smile.
In a way it is like a conversation, just that your response would be delayed, thoughtful or probably silent.
That actually does not matter, not over the years, not when we shall meet again after travelling across the skies, the oceans, the moons.

It is a letter, a letter which makes you realize that the response does not matter, what matters is the process of writing the letter itself, to feel the words appear before you as an inner voice dictates your fingers. It is almost cathartic, or perhaps I wish for it to be so, we all do things with a selfish purpose indeed. I think I look for happiness through expression, I also look for you.

Then maybe- I am just voicing a random thought- maybe those Communication Models are to be blamed, to be blamed for building that desire of a tangible response. Such cunning strategy forcing us to surround ourselves with that which can give us a conspicuous nod.

Even when we travel, we travel with the hope of re-connecting with what we are born connected with. Are you not connected with the tree whose branches sway above you, are you not connected to the squirrel that darts across the road? We are all connected, shall always be.

At times, I accept that loneliness is a myth, no one is alone ever, it is just a make-believe so that the societal structures would sustain. But then, don’t we work so hard, put in conscious efforts to be lonely? To live, to eat, to sleep, to travel in cabins, in boxes, that separate us even from our soul. To live in an isolated luxury, a poisonous privilege indeed. We seem to have forgotten the company of the insects, the birds, the clouds, Oh yes, the clouds! The clouds do tell us much, so many stories, so much that is beyond and hidden from the naked eye.

The clouds, my friend, reveal bit-by-bit, but we do not wish for this ethereal company, neither of the leaves, nor the water. Do you ever hear the ocean as you stand in the midst of great noise? I do, it tells me of the vastness of that which I don’t understand but am a minute part of it nevertheless, I influence it as much as it influences me.

I just wanted to remind you, that you are freer than you think you are, so am I, and even if you never write back, I would know your response, I would hear it without your having uttered a word. For if we wish to be connected, we stay connected, I choose to have you in my life still.

I have reached a point where I don’t know why I am writing this, primarily because I thought of you.

You might not want to understand this and dismiss this, you must, no one is to be forced to have an accurate understanding of another’s rant.

Love Always